O Lord, you have probed me and you know me

There is only one person besides the Virgin Mary and Jesus himself who has a feast day for both his birth and his death, and that is John the Baptist.   This last and greatest of prophets accomplished so much by preparing the way for the Lord, and yet he ended his days in Herod’s jail, awaiting execution.   Let us try to imagine what he might have said to the Lord as he sat alone in the dark.

“Thank you, Lord, for your grace.   Not only did you call me to be the herald of your Messiah, but you also placed me in his family tree.   I am anxious as the threat of death hangs over me, but still I will trust that you will not abandon me.

“Lord, my mother, Elizabeth, told me how I leapt in her womb when Mary came to visit her.   She told me how the Holy Spirit filled her and me with joy because we were in the presence of your Son.   Thank you for giving me the grace to recognize him, even though both of us were hidden from view.   Help me to cling to these memories, even as I cling to the last days of my life.

“You know, Lord, how stunned I was when Jesus came to me for baptism.   My human understanding could not make sense of it; why would he, the Redeemer of Israel, need a baptism of repentance?   But then I heard your voice from heaven, and I saw your Spirit come upon him like a dove, and I began to understand.   You showed me that he was not just the Messiah, but the Lamb of God who would take away all of our sins.   Once again your Spirit filled me with joy as he opened my eyes to your marvelous plan.

“Now as I sit here wondering what will happen to me, I ask you to send your Spirit again.   Give me the courage and trust and faith that I need to face whatever my future holds.   Lord, help me to stay faithful to you to the end.”

-word among us